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Japan's nuclear policy shift triggers anger and welcome.

TOKYO, Dec. 27 Kyodo

The new Japanese government's shift away from a nuclear energy phase-out policy on Thursday angered antinuclear groups, pleased pronuclear organizations and confused communities where nuclear plants are located.

After new Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi vowed early Thursday to review the previous government's nuclear phase-out policy, an antinuclear activist said, "It runs counter to the people's wish to eliminate nuclear power plants."

"The government is failing to regret that it has filled Japan with dangerous nuclear plants," said Tsukasa Wada, a senior member of a group seeking to decommission the Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture. "I feel a strong anger."

Just after Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe launched the new government Wednesday, Motegi announced his plan to scrap the previous government's policy of phasing out nuclear plants by the 2030s and maintain the nuclear fuel cycle promotion policy.

"I am pleased to hear that the government understands the significance and necessity of nuclear fuel reprocessing," said Yoshihiko Kawai, president of Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., which has a reprocessing plant in Rokkasho village, Aomori Prefecture.

"The previous government's nuclear zero goal has caused uncertainties in the nuclear fuel cycle, which will be resolved," said Tsutomu Nakajima, a senior official in charge of nuclear measures at the Rokkasho municipal government.

In Fukui Prefecture's Oi town where two nuclear reactors are in operation, a municipal official said, "The new government cancelled the previous government's switch from a nuclear energy promotion policy to a phase-out policy, confusing residents here."

The town has many small companies that heavily depend on the nuclear plant, the official said. "Don't forget that there are people who are seriously shaken by such policy shifts."
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Publication:Japan Energy Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Dec 31, 2012
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